YouGotPosted 'Revenge Porn' Operators Must Pay $900K Judgment

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 05, 2015 3:01 PM

Don't post sexually explicit pictures of a minor on a revenge porn website. Even more importantly, don't ignore the lawsuit when you get sued!

Eric Chanson and Kevin Bollaert, owners of the (now-defunct) revenge porn website YouGotPosted.com, must now pay a $900,000 default judgment to a young girl whose pictures were posted on the site.

What did they do, and what is a default judgment?

What Happened With the Lawsuit?

A young girl sued Chanson and Bollaert after they posted sexually explicit photos of her, with the watermark "You Got Posted" on their revenge porn website. As TechDirt reports, the suit claimed that the defendants knew the plaintiff was a minor, used her photo without permission, and profited from advertising with her photo.

Both Chanson and Bollaert failed to really put up a fight. Chanson filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied. After that, Chanson completely failed to communicate with the court or participate in the litigation. Bollaert never filed a response after he was served. He was probably preoccupied with the criminal charges against him for extortion, online harassment, and identity theft.

With regard to the civil lawsuit, the court found that the two defendants had defaulted, and awarded the plaintiff $900,000 in damages -- $450,000 to be paid by each defendant.

What Is a Default Judgment?

Chanson and Bollaert defaulted because they failed to respond to and participate in the federal lawsuit.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 governs default judgments. Once a defendant defaults, the court treats all the allegations in the plaintiff's complaints as true. The court must weigh the prejudice to the plaintiff with the rights of the defendant to have a decision based on the merits of the case. The plaintiff asking for a default judgment must still show that the facts of the case support the judgment requested. Any requested judgment amount must also be supported by evidence.

Even after a default judgment has been entered, the losing party may still petition the court to set aside the default judgment, but the defendant must have a good legal explanation for the failure to respond. If approved, the court will take back the default judgment and allow the defendant to proceed with litigation.

If a default judgment has been awarded against you, an experienced attorney can help you explore options to set aside the default.

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